In the eleventh century, King Henry III of Bavaria grew tired of court life and the pressures of being a monarch. He made application to Prior Richard at a local monastery, asking to be accepted as a contemplative and spend the rest of his life in the monastery.
"Your Majesty," said Prior Richard, "do you understand that the pledge here is one of obedience? That will be hard because you have been a king."
"I understand," said Henry. "The rest of my life I will be obedient to you, as Christ leads you."
"Then I will tell you what to do," said Prior Richard. "Go back to your throne and serve faithfully in the place where God has put you." When King Henry died, a statement was written: "The King learned to rule by being obedient."
When we tire of our roles and responsibilities, it helps to remember God has planted us in a certain place and told us to be a good accountant or teacher or mother or father. Christ expects us to be faithful where he puts us, and when he returns, we'll rule together with him.
As this story well illustrates, not everyone is called to full-time vocational ministry. Nonetheless, everyone is still called by God to serve in some capacity.
The great Protestant Reformer Martin Luther once said that Christians all share the same vocation, but not the same avocation. Our shared vocation is to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. We do this, in part, by fulfilling our various avocations – which might be anything from (as the old jingle goes) that of a butcher, to a baker, to even a candlestick maker.
The important thing is to know that whatever our respective avocation might be, we should join with all fellow believers in seeing it as an opportunity to exalt God. As we do, we thereby fulfill our common vocation of serving and glorifying Jesus Christ.
In light of this, may be each be faithful, in our own way, to the call we have received.
SOURCE: Crist, Terry. Awakened to Destiny (Lake Mary, Florida: Charisma House, 2002), p. 131.
Available widely on the internet as well. See, for instance: http://aksermonillustrations.blogspot.com/2010/11/ruling-by-being-obedient.